Luka Doncic proves he can conquer crippling weakness on biggest stage

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping three straight games in the NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks put together a performance for the ages in Game 4 to extend their season. Against Boston, Dallas has struggled to find their identity due to the Celtic's elite perimeter defense, and after Game 4's 122-84 win, the Mavericks may have just proved why they deserved to win the Western Conference.

With an all-around team performance which started after Dereck Lively II drained a corner three early in the first quarter, the Mavericks rallied and never looked back as they almost gained a 50-point lead on the Celtics at one time. Lively II has showcased his ability to drain 3-point shots during Maverick shootarounds. Still, after making his first career three in an NBA Finals game, Jason Kidd may be ready to loosen the leash on Lively II's 3-point shot attempts.

Before Game 4, the Mavericks found themselves in a three-game hole against the Celtics due to Luka Doncic's effort on the defensive end along with his constant bickering with referees. Doncic recorded one of the highest blow-by percentages in Finals history with 67.7 percent through three games, and it was readily apparent after questionably fouling out in Dallas' Game 3 loss.

Luka Doncic proves he can lock down on defense in NBA Finals

With a point to prove and his team on the brink of getting swept in the NBA Finals, Doncic put together one of the best defensive performances of his career in Game 4. After being the primary switch defender on players like Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown through three games, Doncic finally embraced his role and proved why he's an above-average defender in the league.

Doncic recorded an NBA Finals career-high three steals and constantly forced Celtics players into bad situations either as the primary or help-side defender. One specific play that Doncic should hold his head up high on happened halfway through the third quarter when Doncic cut off Jrue Holiday's path to the bucket and forced a turnover. This play subsequently resulted in the Celtics emptying their bench before the third quarter ended.

If Doncic can put as much effort on the defensive end as he did in Game 4, it may result in the Celtics making adjustments for the first time this series.

Mavericks fans understand all too well that Doncic hasn't been the best defender throughout his career. However, if Dallas can get three more games of selfless Doncic defense, the Mavs could stand a chance at making the greatest comeback in NBA history.

More dominoes will need to drop if Dallas is to get back in this series, but a 38-point win on the brink of elimination is a great start. For more updates on Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II, and Dallas Mavericks basketball, stay plugged in as we will have you covered.